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Holt, Joseph

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Brigadier General
Forum Host
Apr 11, 2016
NE Georgia - SC
Joseph Holt

January 6, 1807

Birthplace: Breckinridge County, Kentucky

Colonel John Washington Holt 1772 – 1838
(Buried: Holt Family Cemetery, Holt, Kentucky)​

Mother: Eleanor K. Stephens 1782 – 1871
(Buried: Holt Family Cemetery, Holt, Kentucky)​

1st Wife: Mary Harrison 1811 – 1846 – (Died of Tuberculosis)
(Buried: Hynes – Talbott Cemetery, Bardstown, Kentucky)​

2nd Wife: Margaret Wickliffe 1821 – 1860
(Buried: Bardstown City Cemetery, Bardstown, Kentucky)​


Attended St. Joseph’s College and Centre College​

Occupation before War:

Assistant Editor of Louisville Public Advertiser Newspaper
1833 – 1835: Commonwealth Attorney in Kentucky​
Attorney in Port Gibson, Natchez, and Vicksburg, Mississippi​
1857 – 1859: United States Commissioner of Patents​
1859 – 1860: United States Postmaster General​
1861: United States Secretary of U.S. War Department​

Civil War Career:

1862 – 1875: Judge Advocate General of United States Army​
Wrote the argument in supreme court against Clement Vallandigham
Holt 3.jpg
1864 – 1875: Brigadier General, United States Army​
1864: Prosecuting in the court martial of Major General Fitz John Porter​
1864: Declined the office of United States Secretary of Interior​
1864: Declined the office of United States Attorney General​
1864: Considered a possible Vice-Presidential Candidate​
1865: Chief Prosecutor in the trial of the Lincoln Assassinators​

Occupation after War:

1862 – 1875: Judge Advocate General of United States Army​
1864 – 1875: Brigadier General United States Army​
1866: Issued a pamphlet Vindication of Judge Advocate General Holt From the Foul
Soldiers of Traitors, Confessed perjuries and suborners, Acting in the interest of
Jefferson Davis

Died: August 1, 1894

Place of Death: Washington, D.C.

Cause of Death:
Fracture of neck of femur caused by fall, exhaustion

Age at time of Death: 87 years old

Burial Place: Holt Family Cemetery, Holt, Kentucky

Holt 2.jpg
Holt 4.jpg
Last edited by a moderator:


2nd Lieutenant
Sep 15, 2018
South Texas
He had something to do (prosecuter I think)with the trials of Gen. Fitz-John Porter, Henry Wirz, Clement Vallandigham, and the Lincoln Conspirators. It was the actions of Holt that enabled the execution of Mary Surratt. Her plea for clemency probably would have resulted in Surratt's pardon had President Johnson seen the actual recommendation written on Mrs. Surratt's behalf. But Holt prevented Johnson from seeing the plea.
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